As vinyl is making a come-back driven by nostalgic Baby Boomers and questing Millennials so Beaujolais is enjoying a welcome Renaissance. This has been partially fuelled by rising prices throughout the rest of Burgundy but is principally due to major methodological improvements and a concerted effort to move away from the bulk wine market. Eleventh generation wine maker Arnaud Aucoeur, who is based in the hill village of Villié Morgon, typifies a new wave of growers pursuing scrupulous vineyard and cellar management in a gratifying effort to improve the quality of their wines. His white Beaujolais Villages is made purely of Chardonnay and has bright orchard fruit aromas and flavours with a zesty, dry finish. It makes for an uplifting aperitif or partner to shellfish. His principal wine, in volumes terms, is his red 'Vieilles Vignes' – a supple, berry scented, mid-weight Gamay that has peppery undertones and a fresh acidity. It drinks well lightly-chilled and is perfect for kitchen table lunches of charcuterie, salad and cheese. Arnaud's Morgon' has more weight, depth and longevity, displaying subtle game and mushroom notes over a background of fine tannins.
Ever alert to opportunity, the Graillot family (of Crozes-Hermitage fame) bought 4.5 hectares of vines in the north of Beaujolais in 2014 from which they now produce three different wines under their 'Domaine de Fa' labels. Their red 'Beaujolais en Besset' is readily approachable from release with a wealth of juicy red fruit and delicate tannins. Unsurprisingly, like so much of their output, it has proved a great success with restaurants and wine bars. A violet-scented Fleurie (which accounts for over half of production) has a bit more grip and darker fruit but a lovely palate-cleansing acidity. Completing the range is a more complex 'Saint-Amour' that has sleek dark fruit and cooler granitic notes. A terrific expression of the Gamay grape, it will cellar well for 3-5 years.